This Saturday, there’s a one year anniversary event at Petrol Station for a great organization, Open the Taps, which is a non-profit consumer advocacy group in Texas. I’m looking forward to it and thought that I’d ask Leslie Sprague to answer a few questions about the organization to share with y’all!
What is Open the Taps and what is the driving force behind starting it?
Open The Taps is a grassroots, non-profit consumer advocacy group for Craft Beer Consumers and voters in Texas. We started a year ago, after seeing two bills in the 2011 Texas legislature, that would have improved the craft beer landscape in Texas, fail. We realized, as consumers and voters, we needed to stand up and let our legislators know how important these issues are. Not only do the laws as they stand hurt breweries and brewpubs, but ultimately affect the consumer by limiting their choice. Not to mention that if the laws were changed, the amount of jobs and extra tax revenue the state of Texas would see is tremendous.
What resources can I access and where?
Our website, http://openthataps.org , has a great resource for elections this year, and we will be updating it afterward with committee information, bill information and anything that you need to know to contact your representatives to let them know that this issue matters to you!
Who is involved in Open the Taps?
Open The Taps has members from all over the state of Texas, some from out of state and even internationally! Our sponsors are businesses that understand that changing the laws will help them as well, we have breweries from all over Texas, like No Label in Katy, Deep Ellum in Dallas, Ranger Creek in San Antonio and several others. We also have a local Houston distributor, Duff Beer Distribution, and several local businesses that share the same passion for craft beer that we do!
How can I get involved?
You can get involved in Open The Taps in several ways: Join as a member at either our base level or our special group- 100 for $100, these members help plan our agenda, get first-look at tickets and events and more benefits. If you can”t support monetarily, use your voice! Spread the word, Retweet us on twitter, share our Facebook posts, reach out to your legislators, ask your local bars and restaurants if they know about the laws, there are so many ways to spread our message and educate people.
What are some of the major achievements from this past year?
In the last year, we have gained 400 members, raised close to $20,000 and met with some important people in the industry to let them know that we are serious, and consumers demand a change. We have 22 corporate sponsors and look forward to adding more to that list! We have met with the TABC, a few of our legislators staffers and industry members in general in a group put together by Senator Van de Putte and the TABC to try and reach an industry consensus on what change we need and how we can satisfy everyone with one bill. We are currently working with this work-group and will keep everyone apprised of the outcome.
What is the road forward for Open the Taps?
Going forward, Open The Taps is focused on a few things: the election in November, it is crucial to elect people that are supportive of our cause so that we have a fighting chance of getting a bill approved. you can check our Election page on the website to see what district you live in, who the candidates are and if they returned our survey. Like I previously mentioned, we are working with the TABC workgroup to represent the consumer voice at the discussions about possible legislative changes to take place next year in the session. We are also always educating people, it is important that people understand why we even exist. it’s not just about beer, its about the community, creating jobs and generating revenue that is so badly needed for our state.